New Delhi October 11 2011: India’s telecom service industry – the world’s second largest – will be governed by a new policy that puts service before revenue and customer before provider while hopefully putting behind it, the controversies that plagued it in recent months.
Releasing the Draft National Telecom Policy- 2011 for debate and comment, Indian telecom minister Kapil Sibal said: "Revenue generation will play a secondary role” adding that the thrust will be providing on-demand broadband for all citizens and increasing rural teledensity to 100% by 2020.
One of the first effects of the policy will be to remove all roaming charges, creating a “create One Nation - One License” regime across all services and service areas. In tacit recognition that the existing telecom services arena is crowded with 14 providers and 22 ‘circles’ or zones, the policy encourages consolidation by putting in place an exit policy. The policy envisages that 80% of the telecom sector’s demand will be met by domestic manufacturing with a value addition of 65 %
And in response to the controversy about spectrum allocation to providers the Minister said unequivocally that spectrum would be delinked from licenses and would be governed by market forces. The fig leaf definition of broadband download speeds today as 256 Kbps will be increased to 512 Kbps by 2011 and subsequently to 2 Mbps by 2015 to 100 Mbps thereafter. The Right to Broadband as a basic citizen right has been postulated for the first time. The policy will aim for 600 milion broadband connections by 2020.
Link to 27 page draft Telecom policy http://www.dot.gov.in/NTP-2011/final-10.10.2011.pdf
The telecom Policy follows similar draft policies for IT (http://www.indiatechonline.com/draft-indian-policy-on-information-technology--588.php ) and Electronics (http://www.indiatechonline.com/draft-of-indian-electronics-policy-582.php ) released earlier this month.